According to Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, tens of thousands of people are dying unnecessarily because of the arrogance of many doctors. Dr. Pronovost, a patient safety expert, expressed his opinion in a recent issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
He argues no measurable, achievable and routine strategies to prevent patient harm even exist in the health care industry. In fact, he states there are too many barriers in the way to attain workable ways to protect patients -- and at the top of the list is the arrogance of doctors "who are overconfident about the quality of care they provide or always believe things will go right and aren't prepared when they don't, and of hospital officials who fail to aggressively address problems like hospital-acquired infections."
Dr. Pronovost points out that each year about 100,000 people die from health care-associated infections, another 44,000 to 98,000 die of other preventable mistakes and tens of thousands more die from diagnostic errors or failure to receive recommended therapies. "It's unconscionable that so many people are dying because of these arrogance barriers," Dr. Pronovost said in a statement to the media. "You can't have arrogance in a model for accountability."
Dr. Pronovost introduced a simple checklist into hospital intensive care units (ICUs) at Johns Hopkins and then the entire state of Michigan. Wherever the checklist was consistently used, life-threatening infections were reduced to almost zero. Dr. Pronovost admits it wasn't only his checklist that led to the dramatic improvements in patient safety in these ICUs. The infection rate was reduced in ICUs where nurses were finally allowed and even encouraged to question doctors who had previously been treated as god-like experts who were not to be challenged. When nurses spoke out about physicians who might have skipped a step or otherwise violated safety protocols, infection rates plummeted.
Dr. Pronovost says the bottom line is this: patient safety must be put ahead of individual egos.
Bonnie - Wow. Hats off to Dr. Pronovost. I could not have said it better myself.